FG, States, UNICEF Collaborate On Climate Resilient Wash Sector


The Federal Government of Nigeria, through the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF has revealed plans for a strategic partnership with States across the country to tackle to challenges posed by Climate Change in the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Sector.

Director, Press and Public Relations of the Ministry, Mrs. Funmi Imuetinyan who disclosed this in a statement said, the
Minister of Water Resources and Sanitation, Engr. Prof Joseph Terlumun Utsev, made the declaration at the Opening ceremony of a 3-day National Workshop on State Action Plan on Climate Change, organized by the Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation in conjunction with United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, on Tuesday 27th February, 2024 in Abuja.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shinkafi, the Minister reiterated that one of the Sectors greatly affected by Climate Change is the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Sector and emphasized the need for collaborative efforts among stakeholders to develop holistic solutions to tackle the challenges posed by climate change, including greenhouse gas emissions and synthetic chemicals.

Prof. Utsev noted that Climate change affects various aspects of human endeavours, including food sources, infrastructure, livelihoods, and health, with profound and far-reaching implications for water resources and ecosystem degradation which places immense pressure on water infrastructure, leading to pollution, disrupted availability, and sanitation issues.

The Minister stressed the urgency of taking decisive action to mitigate the devastating effects of climate change, such as rising temperatures, extreme weather conditions, and dwindling natural resources, and called upon participants to approach the workshop with optimism and a sense of purpose, aiming to create a healthier, more equitable, and resilient world for economic prosperity.

During the workshop, the Permanent Secretary, Alhaji Shehu Aliyu Shinkafi FCNA, represented by the Director of Hydrology and Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, Mr. Mukaila Babarinde highlighted the dire situation in Nigeria regarding access to basic hygiene services, emphasized the urgent need for action to address climate change impacts on water resources, given the evident vulnerabilities across the country.

He pointed out that climate change impacts are already affecting Nigeria’s water resources, with worsening drought conditions and declining groundwater levels in the North, and irregular rainfall and flash floods in the Central and Southern regions.

Shinkafi emphasized the risk of damage to water infrastructure due to floods, highlighting the necessity for strategic actions to enhance the sector’s resilience to climate risks.

He enumerated Key areas of impact including water availability and stress, water quality, demand, and related disasters, affecting ecosystems and exacerbating deficiencies in quality of life, sanitation, food security, health, employment, and living standards due to imbalances in water infrastructure development, population increase, rapid urbanization, pollution, and invasive species.

Dr. Jane Bevan, UNICEF Chief of WASH, emphasized during the workshop the critical importance of addressing climate change issues, particularly in Africa and Nigeria. She highlighted the vulnerability of water resources in the face of climate change-induced extreme droughts, floods, and diseases like cholera due to higher temperatures.

She further pointed out that despite these challenges, there are tangible actions that can be taken to mitigate the impacts of climate change which include readiness plans, emergency preparedness, disaster reduction, and risk reduction strategies. According to her, simple actions such as planting of trees to improve groundwater retention and clearing waste from drainage channels can significantly contribute to reducing the risk of floods and other water-related disasters.

She also mentioned the availability of funding from various large organizations globally to support climate change adaptation efforts in regions like West Africa and the Central Sahel. She added that accessing this funding involves clear plans at both National and State levels, along with a climate rationale, which are prerequisites for funding from sources like the Green Climate Fund.

Mr. Mukaila Babarinde, Director of Hydrology and Climate Change, Federal Ministry of Water Resources and Sanitation, emphasized that the workshop’s primary goal is to promote SDG13 on Climate Action, with a specific focus on its impact on SDG 6 (Water and Sanitation) which includes engaging grassroots communities, youth, and water sector professionals from various Nigerian states.

Specific objectives of the workshop include sharing the concept of climate-resilient WASH programming, orienting states on the Climate Landscape Analysis for Children (CLAC), and assisting states in preparing Action Plans for implementing climate-resilient WASH programs.

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